President’s Cup.

President’s Cup 2019: Full Preview / Seoul & Busan Sunday Race-By-Race (November 3)

This decade there have only been four different President’s Cup winners. From 2010 to 2012, the great Dangdae Bulpae monopolised the race. Indie Band and Gyeongbudaero then each took a turn in the winner’s circle before Triple Nine won the first of what would be four straight successes in 2015.

There will be a new name on the trophy this year. Now aged seven, Triple Nine is back in training but he hasn’t made the starting gate and instead sixteen horses will vie to succeed him in winning the President’s Cup (KOR G1-2000M), the nation’s richest age-open race for Korean-bred horses at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 and 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Race-by-race notes for Seoul below followed by Busan selections.

Simjangui Godong KRA

Simjangui Godong (Pic: KRA)

It’s a deep field. The last two Korean Derby winners, Ecton Blade and Wonderful Fly, are present but both will be outsiders in a bunch headed by Simjangui Godong. The three-year-old ran 2nd in the Derby and 6th in the Minister’s Cup but has since embarked on a purple patch of three wins including the Ilgan Sports and HRI Trophies.

Jockey Moon Se Young had more than one option but ultimately plumped for Simjangui Godong. However, a heavy fall on Saturday that landed him in hospital, seems likely to rule him out of the mount and a chance of winning one of the few elite races still to elude him.

Speaking after Thursday’s barrier draw, Moon had been bullish about Simjangui Godong’s chances and excited to ride a horse on whose sire, Jigeum I Sungan, he finished 3rd in the race in 2013. “I rode his sire in this race. We didn’t win it, but he was a great horse and I would love to win on his son. He’s a good horse, so it’s down to me. He’s so good that we can overcome even one mistake – obviously if we make more, it will be difficult”.

In gate 5, Simjangui Godong also has the plum draw. “In the President’s Cup, it’s so hard to win if you’re not within the inside 10. Gate 5 is perfect”, said Moon. Should Moon not make the race, a replacement rider has yet to be confirmed.

New Legend hasn’t quite lived up to his early promise. A Korea bred, he spent the early part of his career in the United States, even winning at Arlington Park, and for his first few outings back home looked unstoppable. The he hit the elite level and things haven’t been so easy with his latest being a disappointing run in the Keeneland Korea Cup (KOR G1).

This time though, New Legend faces only domestically-bred rivals and Kim Uk, assistant trainer to Kim Young-kwan, believes better is to come. “There is a myth that Menifee’s progeny aren’t good around 2000M or further, but we know that’s not true after Gyeongbudaero and Power Blade (both Grand Prix Stakes winner at 2300M). But we heard it again after New Legend was beaten (in May’s YTN Cup). We think he’s ready. After the Korea Cup he had a bit of a rest then we brought him back and started training him early with this in mind. We put him through a trial, and he went really well, and we think he is a chance here.”

Another serious chance is New Legend’s stablemate Captain Force. The four-year-old, by Peace Rules, is a winner of nine from twenty so far, but last raced in June. That doesn’t concern jockey Lee Hyo-sik. “He has been out a while and we initially wanted him to run once before this race, but we trialled him and felt he wasn’t ready so went back to training. We trialled him again at the beginning of October and were really happy with him so decided to come straight here. He did his fast work on Thursday and he was excellent. He’s exactly where we want him to be.”

Busan’s strong challenge is fortified by Final Energy. The Testa Matta gelding ran 5th behind Blue Chipper in the Keeneland Korea Sprint (KOR G1) in September but showed his staying credentials when beating fellow contender here Toham Ace in a strong race over 1800M five weeks ago.

Jockey Lim Sung-sil won this race on Indie Band in 2013 and likes what he sees in Final Energy. “It’s his first time around 2000M so we’ve been working on his stamina. He’s got good gate speed so I wasn’t worried about the draw although getting gate 7 is great, we just have to make sure he sees out the whole race. If he does that then he’s right in there. He travelled well, has eaten well and he likes it at Seoul – the stable here is bigger!”

There are plenty of other contenders too. Among the three-year-olds, Minister’s Cup winner Rock Choice takes his chance while top filly Clear Geom will also be in the gate. Among older contenders, the prolific winner Dokdo Jigi, a winner of eight from eleven lifetime starts, returns to action for the first time in five months and while he was given an easy time in a barrier trial last week, has plenty of quality about him. As for foreign interest, Thomas Gillespie saddles Toham Ace while Richard Oliver rides Ecton Blade and Ioannis Poullis gets the big leg-up on New Legend.

Seoul Comments

Race 1: Class 6 (1300M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(5) GEOSEN JILU comes in having run 2nd and 3rd in two starts so far, both at 1000M and both times running on well. She steps up in trip for the first time today and could well be the one to beat. (4) DAESEUNG QUEEN ran well for 2nd on debut on October 5th. She too steps up in trip for the first time and looks to be a danger. (7) ILBO DEUNGCHEON does have experience of this distance having run 4th in what was quite a strong race last start and must be considered for improvement. (2) CHOGANGGUK and (8) BAEKDUSAN CHEONJI look to be the best of the rest.

Selections (5) Geoseon Jilju (4) Daeseung Queen (7) Ilbo Deungcheon (8) Baekdusan Cheonji
Next Best 2, 6
Fast Start 5, 6, 7

Race 2: Class 4 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Competitive – if not especially strong – maiden. (6) SHARK JJANG and (4) EAST BAN came home 5th and 6th respectively when they raced each other on September 28th. That was just East Ban’s second start and e should have improvement in him. He’s drawn better today to get to the lead and can win. (2) MUNHAKUI JEONSA already holds a win over 1200M and while he disappointed last start can be given another chance today back at the minimum. (9) POP STREET comes in off a very narrow defeat last time out over 1700M and is interesting dropped all the way back to 1000M today. (5) GOLDEN SERVICE (more…)

President’s Cup 2019: Runner-By-Runner Notes

For the first time since 2014, a horse not named Triple Nine is going to win the President’s Cup. The four-time winner of the richest all-aged race in the country that is restricted to Korean-bred runners – and resultingly, Korea’s all-time leading money-earner – came back into training in late summer with a tilt at five in a row in mind, but a setback in early October means he hasn’t made it.

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Four-time winner Triple Nine won’t be defending his President’s Cup (Pic: KRA)

A full field of sixteen have though and they will line up in race 9 this Sunday over the 2000M at Seoul. We’ll have selections up later in the weekend but for now, here are all sixteen contenders.

President’s Cup (KOR G1) 2000M / KRW 800 Million

  1. WONDERFUL FLY – The easy winner of the Korean Derby in May, he struggled in the Minister’s Cup the following month. He then won at class 3 over 1400M but had a hard time on his class 2 bow over 1800M at the end of September. That Moon Se Young gets off him to ride Simjangui Godong perhaps tells its own story but there was a more than capable replacement in Alan Munro. Will be a front-runner but whether he can stay on at this trip in this company is questionable.
  2. SHARK DAEJANGGEUN – Well back behind Simjangui Godong on a wet track in July’s Ilgan Sports but redeemed himself somewhat when 2nd in the JRA Trophy over 1800M on international weekend. Yet to win at higher than class 3. Generally operates as a deep closer so may need some luck but he can pass plenty late on.
  3. NASCA PRINCE – A good class 1 winner over 2300M in May so his staying credentials are not in doubt. His form perhaps is though with him coming home 19th and 7th in two subsequent starts, both at 1800M. Nicely drawn to get to the front early and he can give a good account of himself although others are favoured.
  4. KINGSTON HARBOR – One of two in the race for trainer Baik Kwang-yeol. A three-year-old, he didn’t make it onto the Classic trail but won three in a row between May and July to get to class 2 level. Since then he has put in two 3rd place finishes, both at 1800M. Likely to settle just behind the early pace, this is his first try at the distance and in this company. Can go well but perhaps too much too soon.
  5. SIMJANGUI GODONG – Ran 2nd in the Derby and 6th in the Minister’s Cup but has been very good since then, winning the Ilgan Sports Cup and HRI Trophy in back to back starts in July and September and most recently scored over a mile at class 2 at a mile. Four of his five wins have come on wet tracks, but he looks to be the improver of the field and jockey Moon Se Young gets on him instead of the Derby winner. He’ll be close to the pace early and has a big chance.
  6. TOHAM ACE – An up and comer from Thomas Gillespie’s stable, he recorded a five-race winning streak between March and August this year which saw him go from class 5 to class 2. That streak came to an end when 3rd behind Final Energy at 1800M on September 27th. He tests the distance for the first time and You Hyun-myung comes up from Busan to ride him. Goes best when at the front, this is a tough ask, but improvement is possible.
  7. FINAL ENERGY –Managed an excellent 5th behind Blue Chipper in the Korea Sprint over 1200M here in September before returning to Busan and winning in a very fast time for 1800M ahead of Toham Ace at class 2 level at the end of September. It’s his first time over the additional furlong today but he should be equal to it and has a big race jockey aboard. He has a chance.
  8. DOKGO JIGI – A winner of eight from eleven, this is his first start since June, when he was a class 1 winner over 1800M. A mild bout of colic and injury have kept him out since then but he looked well enough when trialling up last week. His only defeat this year was his first try at class 1 back in April. He generally settles just off the pace and while this is a very tough ask first-up, he is a class act.
  9. NEW LEGEND – Began his racing career in the United States, picking up a win at Arlington Park, before returning to Korea last autumn. He won his first four efforts easily before finding his match once he reached elite level company. Nevertheless, he has more than held his own with his only really disappointing run coming in the Korea Cup. He was 4th to Moonhak Chief here in the YTN Cup in his only previous try at this distance but this looks the ideal race for him. He has a chance.
  10. MYEONGPUM CHUKJE – One of the better three-year-olds, he was 5th in the KRA Cup Mile, 4th in the Derby and then 2nd in the Minister’s Cup. Since the conclusion of the Triple Crown, he has picked up one win in three starts and while it was only at class 3, it was over 1900M. He’s a colt who seems to need a bit of distance so this should suit and while he has suffered reverses to four of his rivals today among his latest five starts, he could run into some minor money.
  11. ROCK CHOICE – Joined the Triple Crown trail in the final leg and duly won the Minister’s Cup extremely handily at odds in excess of 20/1. He then returned to Busan and promptly won at class 3 over 1800M but has failed to make an impact in two subsequent starts at class 2 level. The Minister’s Cup win was the only race he’s been ridden forward in, but he has won from behind before, albeit in weaker company. Can’t be completely ruled out.
  12. MAJOR ALPHA – A very consistent type, he got his first class 1 victory at odds of 40/1 when dropped back to 1400M in August. He bled for the first time in that race and was accordingly stood down for a month and sent back to trial, which he passed at the end of September. He has a 3rd place at class 2 to his name at this distance. While up against it here, he’ll come from off the pace and can pass some in the latter stages of the race.
  13. ULTRA ROCKET – A very good 4th in this race last year, he has subsequently established himself at class 1 level and comes into contention after a good win in the HKJC Trophy at 1800M on International weekend in September. He usually comes from off the pace with a strong finish which, given his draw, looks to be the likely tactics again here. He could go close.
  14. ECTON BLADE – The 2018 Korean Derby winner has had an interrupted career since then, with only one subsequent victory to his name and that was all the way back last August. He returned just three weeks ago from eight months off and while he was well beaten, it was clear he needed the run. Obviously scope for improvement but this is a tough race and he’ll be among the outsiders.
  15. CLEAR GEOM – A somewhat surprising winner of the Gyeonggi Governor’s Cup, the concluding leg of the “Triple Tiara” at this distance in June, she has since backed up that form with two wins from three more outings. She upset both Myeongpum Chukje and Wonderful Fly last start on September 29th over 1800M. She likes the distance and as both a three-year-old, and the only filly, she is getting weight from the entire field making her an interesting wildcard.
  16. CAPTAIN FORCE – Stablemate of New Legend, he is one of the few genuine established top-class performers in the field with four wins at class 1 to his name. He comes in having won his latest start, which was over this distance, in very handy fashion. That was back in early June, so he has been off for five months. He did go through a barrier trial in October, which he won in good fashion. Likes to be close to the front so the draw does him no favours, but if he s at his best, he has an excellent chance.

 

Triple Nine Lands Sensational 4th President’s Cup

Triple Nine galloped his way in to Korean racing history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday afternoon as he cruised to an unprecedented fourth consecutive win in the President’s Cup. The six-year-old struck the front a furlong and a half from home and eased to a dominant six-length win to eclipse the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae, who won three straight editions of the nation’s biggest race for domestically-bred horses between 2012 and 2012.

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Triple Nine in the President’s Cup winner’s circle

At a packed Seoul Racecourse on a bright autumn afternoon, Triple Nine was sent off as the odds-on favourite for the 2000M test which for the past fifteen years has decided the Champion Korean bred horse of the year and has also been when the season’s three-year-old Classic winners face the best older horses for the first time. So that was to be this time with Ecton Blade and World Sun, winners of the Korean Derby and Minister’s Cup respectively both taking their chance.

 Neither was able to show very much. Ecton Blade, a stablemate of Triple Nine, was hindered by a wide draw and was scarcely involved while World Sun, a closer, did eventually arrive on the scene but far too late. Other fancied contenders Cheonji Storm and Gangtoma also offered little. Instead it was left to Gasokbulpae, more noted as a sprinter and sent off at odds in excess of 90/1 and who set a game pace throughout, and Yaho Sky Cat, a 130/1 outsider to get the closest, eventually finishing in 3rd and 2nd respecitively. Another long-shot, Ultra Rocket was 4th.

They might as well have been in a different race to Triple Nine. Kim Young-Kwan’s stable star settled in midfield and gradually improved down the back straight before being shaken up by jockey Lim Sung Sil on the turn for home. From then on it was inevitable and Triple Nine duly took a stranglehold on the race in the home straight.

 The margin on the line was six-lengths, the greatest in Triple Nine’s President’s Cup. The time was his second quickest, half a second slower than last year’s. Then though he had Power Blade to contend with. While this year’s competition may not have been the strongest, the sheer consistency of Triple Nine over the past three years, as well as his exploits in Dubai in 2017, surely takes him to the top of the all-time ranks of Korean-bred horses, even ahead of Power Blade.

 Bred by Isidore Farm on Jeju Island, Triple Nine has won 14 of his 30 races in Korea and placed 3rd and 4th in the first two editions of the Korea Cup. For trainer Kim Young-Kwan it was a record fourteenth Group 1 winner while for jockey Lim Sung Sil, it was a fifth G1. Three of those have now been on Triple Nine in the President’s Cup while he matched his mount’s achievement having also ridden Indie Band to win the race in 2013.

It may not be over yet. The Grand Prix Stakes is a possibility next month and given Triple Nine’s career to date, a return next year for a previously unthinkable fifth President’s Cup is surely not impossible.

 

Triple Nine Bids To “Winx” The President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 4)

Triple Nine will be seeking to enter the history books at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday as the three-time President’s Cup (KOR G1) winner, bids to add an unprecedented fourth consecutive victory in the top Group 1 race for Korean-bred horses. There are 11 races at Seoul from 10:45 to 18:00 plus 6 at Busan from 12:40 to 17:10. Here are the previews with horse-by-horse notes for the President’s Cup which is race 9 on the program at Seoul, scheduled to be off at 16:45″

Triple Nine KRA

Can Triple Nine make it into the President’s Cup winner’s circle for the 4th time? (Pic: KRA)

Last year, Triple Nine equaled the great Dangdae Bulpae’s record of the consecutive President’s Cup victories which were achieved between 2010 and 2012. Unlike Dangdae Bulpae, who was retired after an unsuccessful tilt at the 2013 edition, the Kim Young-kwan-trained six-year-old will be a firm favourite to write his name into Korean racing folklore.

Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 24 Million

(1) SAEROUN CAPTAIN just missed out by half a length when 2nd at this distance on what was his fourth career start at the end of September. He led until almost the very end that day and this time can get home on top. (6) HWANSANGUI BIT didn’t do himself justice over 1300M last start but should be better dropped back to the minimum today and is likely to join Saeroun Captain on the early pace. (7) SONGAM BARBIE has only raced twice, improving to 2nd on the latest of those a month ago, just beaten a neck and she can go close as well. (5) JEONGSANG GOLD was 5th in that race, overcoming a difficult start and is another who looks on the up.

Selections (1) Saeroun Captain (6) Hwansangui Bit (7) Songam Barbie (5) Jeongsang Gold
Next Best 4, 8
Fast Start 1, 3, 6

Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

Juvenile maidens here and only one of them has ever raced before. That was (5) GOLD PERILLA and based on that one race, we’ll leave him well alone. (1) COILRO enters as the only trial winner and while his time wasn’t the quickest, he looked competent and the Simon Foster/Antonio Da Silva combination could be enough to make him favourite. Fastest in trials was (4) HAMYANG SANSAM. She’s half-sister to plenty of average racehorses and could well have a win in her at this level. (2) BANJIUI HAMSEONG caught the eye too when running 3rd in his heat at the end of September. With a top jockey on board, he’ll attract money too. (8) BEST HILL and (10) VICTORY KING could also go well first-up. As ever in this type of race, the market may be the best guide.

Selections (1) Coilro (4) Hamyang Sansam (2) Banjiui Hamseong (10) Victory King
Next Best 8, 3
Fast Start 2, 5, 12

Race 3: Class 5 (1300M) Handicap / KRW 40 Million

(7) WONDERFUL TRUTH was a nice-looking six-length winner over 1000M on debut on October 6th and while she’s up in both class and distance today, she’s worth putting on top again in this all-filly contest. She should be able to get to the lead from gate 7 and can go all the way. (8) FLYING HERA remains a maiden but goes well at this trip and was 3rd in arguably a slightly stronger race than this at the distance on September 9th and she’ll be one of the dangers, as will another maiden (6) RAON MIRACLE. She has plenty of experience at this level and her recent forms reads well. (3) GOLDSTAR HILLS has been around the block a few times and drops back in trip today and into the frame while (9) RISING SOCKS acquitted herself well running 5th in a similar race to this last time and can build on that here.

Selections (7) Wonderful Truth (8) Flying Hera (3) Goldstar Hills (6) Raon Miracle
Next Best 9, 2
Fast Start 2, 3, 7

Race 4: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 60 Million

(1) WINT SEVEN ran 3rd on debut in August and after having a couple of minor hoof problems returned to trial in October in which he as extremely impressive. He’ll be one of the shortest-priced favourites of the day and should win. He’s one of only five of the twelve who have raced before and among the other experienced ones, only (6) CAMPING MANIA really convinced and she’ll be a danger. Of the first-time starters, (4) SAMAE (more…)

Can He Make It Four In A Row? Triple Nine’s President’s Cups So Far

A year ago, Triple Nine emulated Dangdae Bulpae in winning the President’s Cup for the third consecutive year. Now the six-year-old has a chance to enter unchartered territory as he bids to take home the trophy an unprecedented 4th time.

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Triple Nine (Picture: Alex Cairns)

It’s not only never been done in the President’s Cup before but it would be a first time in any Korean Group Race. Here are his wins so far:

2015 – Reward at least after Classic near-misses

Having finished 2nd in the Korean Derby to Yeongcheon Ace and 2nd in the Minister’s Cup to Rock Band, Triple Nine beat both his fellow three-year-olds to more than make amends for missing out in the Triple Crown races. Under Lim Sung-sil, Triple Nine was sent out as slight faovurite and stalked the early leaders before unleashing in the home straight to score by three-lengths from Rock Band and outsider Ildeung Hanghaesa.

2016 – Putting his Stablemate, the Triple Crown winner, firmly in his place

Stablemate Power Blade had won all three legs of the Triple Crown but he was no match for Triple Nine, who two months earlier had also finished ahead of him in the inugural Korea Cup. The younger horse could get no closer than three-lengths on the line as Seo Seung-un steered Triple Nine to a comfortable win. Success Story, who had run well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival at the stand of the year came home in 3rd place. Two months later, both Triple Nine and Power Blade would themselves jet off for successful stints in Dubai.

2017 – Beating Power Blade Again

With Power Blade having recently finally started to get the better of his rival, most pundits were of the opinion that this time there would be a changing of the guard. Not a bit of it as with Lim Sung-sil up once more, Triple Nine collared Power Blade with a furlong to go, zipping by him as if he was wasn’t there to claim his hat-trick by two-legnths on the line. The board ended up identical to that od 2016 with Success Story once more in 3rd.

Dangdae Bulpae won three consective President’s Cups between 2010 and 2012 but while he did attempt a fourth in 2013, it proved a race too far as he finished 10th of 16 as Indie Band took victory and was retired afterwards. Both Indie Band and Dangdae Bulpae are now retired at Isidore Farm on Jeju Island – the farm where Triple Nine was foaled.

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Dangdae Bulpae now has his own bronze statue at Busan Racecourse (although his greatest wins were at Seoul he, just like Triple Nine, was trained on the South Coast). Triple Nine’s statue is already assured. If he wins on Sunday, it may just be in Gold.

Triple Nine’s Stamina Defies Doubters To Land 3rd President’s Cup

In the end the punters were much closer to getting it right than the pundits. The vast majority of the Korean racing world had managed to convince itself that when it came to the rivalry between Triple Nine and Power Blade, the younger horse was now in charge, even at 2000M. Bettors, however, sent the pair off as pretty much co-favourites and ultimately it was Triple Nine who prevailed at Seoul Racecourse on Sunday to match the achievement of Dangdae Bulpae in winning three consecutive President’s Cups.

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Triple Nine beat Power Blade to win his 3rd President’s Cup at Seoul on Sunday (Pic: KRA)

l was guiltier than most, having gone from believing at the start of the week that Triple Nine still had every chance over his preferred distance to by the time of the race, being sure Power Blade would win. In the end, it wasn’t even close with Triple Nine collaring his rival a furlong from home and running on to win by an ever-increasing two lengths.

Triple Nine was given a very good ride by Lim Sung Sil who this year has established himself as the top big race rider in Korea. This was his third Group race victory of the year (more impressive than it sounds given the limited number), achieved on three different horses and he is likely to ride favourite World Sun in the Breeders’ Cup race back at Seoul in early December. Then of course, there is the prospect of Triple Nine in the Grand Prix Stakes.

Lim is an infrequent rider, his minimum weight of 54kg not being conducive to regular mounts in Korea, but some of the rides he has produced – initiative in the Minister’s Cup and timing in last week’s Gimhae Mayor’s Cup and of course on Triple Nine on Sunday – mark him out as a cut above most here.

Ultimately, the President’s Cup finishing order was exactly the same as last year, with Triple Nine winning, Power Blade 2nd and Success Story 3rd. Korean Derby winner Final Boss could only manage 4th. He raced prominently throughout but never looked likely in the home straight and is perhaps not quite at the very elite level yet. That elite level is set by the winner and runner-up, ten lengths clear of the rest.

Korean racing has been very lucky to have both Triple Nine and Power Blade over the past two years. Their performances over the summer must surely put an end to the general belief on the backstretches in Seoul and Busan that travelling overseas to race is detrimental to horses’ chances of racing successfully in Korea. Granted it took both a while to readjust on their return from Dubai and they probably did miss out on winning some easy prize money in routine handicaps – and granted too, remarkably this was Triple Nine’s first race win since the corresponding one a year ago. But both could have probably used the spell anyway after long campaigns.

Moreover, Power Blade especially came back a better horse and it has now been demonstrated that Triple Nine lost nothing either with both having beaten the other at their preferred trips. There is, of course a reason why in September, Power Blade ran in the Korea Sprint and Triple Nine in the Korea Cup. While Triple Nine will head for the Grand Prix, Power Blade almost certainly won’t and at least for him, another trip to Dubai would make perfect sense, even if he has to forego an easy win or two here. For now, connections remain unconvinced.

Dangdae Bulpae, whose three-timer Triple Nine has now equaled, did attempt a fourth in 2013. It was a race too far for him. A year is a very long time in flat racing but hopefully Triple Nine will still be here.

Seoul & Busan Sunday – Triple Nine vs Power Blade in the President’s Cup: Race-By-Race Preview (November 5)

Triple Nine heads into Sunday’s President’s Cup (KOR G1) at Seoul Racecourse looking to match Dangdae Bulpae’s feat of three consecutive wins in what is the nation’s most valuable race restricted to Domestic-bred horses. More likely though is that we witness a changing of the guard of sorts as stablemate Power Blade will be favourite to assert his own claim to be top of the Korean racing tree.

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Power Blade won the Korean Derby this year. He gets the chance to depose Triple Nine in the President’s Cup (Pic: Ross Holburt)

That transition is almost complete. Both went to the Dubai World Cup Carnival and represented Korea with extremely creditable performances but since they’ve come back, it’s Power Blade who has gone on to excel. That’s not to say that Triple Nine is demonstrably any worse; just that that Power Blade has got better and better and the younger horse has already downed Triple Nine at distances of 1400M and a Mile.

Neither are straightforward horses. Power Blade needs urging all the way around while Triple Nine takes a very long time to reach his top gear. It’s those factors which combine with the 2000M distance of the President’s Cup that gives Triple Nine backers a glimmer of hope. Power Blade now though, is good enough to extinguish it.

Traditionally in Korea this would be the race where the top three-year-olds of the year faced their older counterparts in a Group race for the first time. Indeed, Korean Derby winner Final Boss takes his chance. Similar to the two favourites, he is anything but straightforward but on his day, looks an exceptional talent. Daeho Sidae, who beat Final Boss in the final leg of the Triple Crown also goes.

Seoul Race 1: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(1) DUSON EYE just missed out by a neck over 1000M on October 1st and he’s the pick to go one better here, likely leading all the way. (2) SKY CAMP has been 3rd in both his starts so far, albeit in less than exalted company and there’s no reason why that record can’t continue here. He’ll likely join Duson Eye up front early. (5) GEUMEUN JUOK was well back behind Duson Eye on latest effort but had shown glimpses of talent before while debut-maker (3) BAEKDUUI JEONGSANG has to be given a chance in this company having trialled up in decent fashion last month.

Selections (1) Duson Eye (2) Sky Camp (3) Baekduui Jeongsang (5) Geumeun Juok
Next Best 9, 11
Fast Start 1, 2, 11

Seoul Race 2: Class 6 (1000M) Allowance / KRW 22 Million

(8) HIGH STAR comes in having run 3rd and 4th in her latest two, both of them similarly modest contests to this one. She’s not necessarily the fastest of starters but will run on and could get her maiden win here. (3) O.J. HWAK DAB gets a fresh start today. She’s not been convincing in two outings to date but looked much improved when trialling up in October and can be backed here. (2) SOJUNGHAN SEONGBUL’s latest two have been too difficult and she should be much happier today – the champion jockey riding her will (more…)